Apr 24, 2020
Andrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 24
Governor Andrew Cuomo held his daily New York coronavirus briefing on April 24. He said of Mitch McConnell possibly passing a state bankruptcy law: “I dare you.” Full transcript here.
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Andrew Cuomo: (03:44)
Everybody looks bright and happy, happy and peppy and bursting with love. No? Today is Friday. I hope you all have big plans for the weekend. Can you have a weekend if you didn’t have a week day? Philosophical questions.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:04)
Total hospitalizations, down. Good news; 14,200. All the evidence suggests we’re on the downside of the curve. We’re headed down. Net change in hospitalizations is down. Net change in intubations is down again and they have been down for a while. This is still not great news. Number of new people coming into the hospital. Number of new infections is a slightly down but that’s basically a flat line and that is troubling. About 1,200 new, 1,300 new infections every day. Number of lives lost is still heartbreaking news. 422. Again, this is at an unimaginable level and it’s dropping somewhat but it’s still a devastating news.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:09)
The question we’re watching now is we hit the high point. We’re on the way down. How fast does that number come down and how far does that number drop? We have projections again, like we had projections on what the disease was going to do on the way up the mountain. We have projections on what the disease would do as a rate of decline. But again, they’re just projections. Some projections has it going down and flattening at about 5,000 people in hospitals still. Some projections have the decline slowing between now and June. But these are again all just like they had projections as to how fast and how far the disease would increase. Those projections as we know were wrong. Well, they weren’t wrong. We didn’t hit those projections because of our actions, because of what we did because of what the federal government did.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:16)
Luckily, the disease did not go as high as they thought in the projections. You now have the corresponding question, how fast is the decline? How low was the decline? And again, the variable is going to be what we do.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:33)
We change the projection on the way up. We can change the projection on the way down but it’s purely dependent on what we do. Are we socially distancing? Are we testing? How fast do we reopen? How do we reopen? You answer those questions and you will determine what the rate of decline is.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:57)
If you say, “Well, we’re done. Can’t stay in the house anymore. Let’s just reopen. Just start business tomorrow. Let’s go.” What happens? That’s what happens. All the progress we made is gone and all experts, or virtually all experts will say, not only does the virus spread increase but it increases to a higher point than we had increased the first time. Again, this is a remarkably effective virus at spreading and growing. So I know everyone’s impatient. Let’s just reopen. That’s what happens if we just reopen. So we have to be smart.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:55)
People are also talking about a second wave; potential of a second wave people are talking about. Potential for the virus to come back in the fall, which means the game isn’t over. Which means the game could be just at halftime. So let’s make sure we’re learning the lessons of what has happened thus far. Let’s make sure we’re being truthful with ourselves, not that we’re deceiving anyone else but let’s make sure we’re not deceiving ourselves.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:26)
What has happened? What should we learn from as far as what has happened thus far, so we make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again and let’s do that now.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:40)
This was our first global pandemic. Welcome. There had been people who talked about global pandemics before. Bill Gates had talked about the potential of a global pandemic during the Obama administration. They talked about being prepared for a global pandemic but it was almost always an academic exercise. What if? What if? What if?
Andrew Cuomo: (09:03)
Once it happens, once it actualizes for people, then it’s different. Then people get it. We now know that a global pandemic is not just a textbook exercise. It’s not just the tabletop exercise. It can happen and when it happens, it’s devastating and let’s just learn from what happened on the first one. Let’s just get the basic lesson of what happened on the first one.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:29)
Last November, December, we knew that China had a virus outbreak. You could read about it in the newspapers, right? Everybody knew. January 26, we know we had the first confirmed case in Seattle, Washington, and California. February 2nd, the president ordered a travel ban from China. March 1st we have the first confirmed case in the state of New York. By March 19th, New York state is totally closed down. No state moved faster from first case to close down then the state of New York.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:09)
March 16th we have a full travel ban from Europe. Researchers now find and they report in some newspapers, the virus was spreading wildly in Italy in February and there was an outbreak, massive outbreak in Italy in February. Researchers now say there were likely 28,000 cases in the United States in February, including 10,000 cases in the state of New York and the Coronavirus flu virus that came to New York, did not come from China. It came from Europe.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:55)
When you look at the number of flights that came from Europe to New York, the New York metropolitan area, New York and New Jersey during January, February, up to the close down, 13,000 flights bringing 2.2 million people. All right. So November, December you have the outbreak in China. Everybody knows.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:22)
January, February, flights are coming from Europe. People are also coming from China in January, until the China closed down and the flights continue to come from Europe until the Europe shutdown. 2.2 million people come to New York and come to New Jersey.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:46)
We acted two months after the China outbreak. When you look back, does anyone think the virus was still in China waiting for us to act two months later? We all talk about the global economy and how fast people move and how mobile we are. How can you expect that when you act two months after the outbreak in China, the virus was only in China waiting for us to act? The horse had already left the barn by the time we moved.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:25)
A researcher now says knowing the number of flights coming into New York from Italy, it was like watching a horrible train wreck in slow motion. Those are the flights that were coming from Italy and from Europe, January and February. We closed the front door with the China travel ban, which was right. Even in retrospect, it was right, but we left the back door open because the virus had left China by the time we did the China travel ban. That’s what the researchers are now saying with 28,000 cases in the United…
Andrew Cuomo: (13:03)
… saying, with 28,000 cases in the United States, 10,000 in New York. So what is the lesson? An outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere. When you see in November and December an outbreak in China, just assume the next day it’s in the United States. When they say it’s in China, just assume that virus got on a plane that night and flew to New York, or flew to Newark Airport, and it’s now in New York. That has to be the operating mentality, because you don’t know that the virus didn’t get on a plane. All you need is one person to get on that plane in China and come to New York. The way this virus transfers, that’s all you need, and you can’t assume two months later the virus is still going to be sitting on a park bench in China waiting for you to get there. That is the lesson, and again, why do we need to learn the lesson? Because they’re talking about this happening again with this virus, where it could mutate in China and get on a plane and come right back, or the next virus, or the next pandemic.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:28)
Whose job is it to warn us of these global pandemics? The President says it’s the World Health Organization, and that’s why he’s taken action against them. Not my field, but he’s right to ask the question, because this was too little, too late. And let’s find out what happened so it doesn’t happen again, and it will happen again. Bank on it. Let’s not put our head in the sand and say, “This is the only global pandemic that we’ll ever have to deal with.”
Andrew Cuomo: (15:08)
In the meantime, let’s keep moving forward. One of the things we’re working on is, “How do we clean? How do we disinfect?” We’re talking about reopening. We still have public transit systems running. We still have buses running, so we’ve been working on, “How do you come up with new cleaning, new disinfecting protocols?” And I asked the simple question to our team a few days ago, “How long does the virus live?” And it’s something we need to know, but frankly, I think it’s something everybody needs to know. The virus can live up to 72 hours on plastic surfaces and stainless steel surfaces. Okay? So just think about this from a transit point of view, or from your car point of view, it can live on a vinyl car seat up to 72 hours. It can live on a pole in a bus or on a seat in a bus for up to 72 hours. Up to 24 hours on cardboard. Up to four hours on materials like copper, and the droplets can hang in the air for three hours.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:24)
This was a shocker to me. When they were talking about droplets, I thought it was a droplet and then it falls, right? It’s a droplet that can hang in the air for three hours. I don’t even know how that works, and many of the people who spread it are showing no symptoms at all, so just factor that in, in your daily life when you’re going through your own precautions.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:51)
We’re also going to do the state finance report this week, and what you’re going to see is what we expected, roughly a $13.3 billion shortfall from our forecast. Total effect over the period of the financial plan is $61 billion. Now, what happened? New York State was not, quote-unquote, “in trouble” before this happened. New York State was very, very strong before this happened. Our economy was growing. It was growing at a very high rate. Our government spending has been at record lows. The spending increases. Our taxes today are lower than the day I took office. “Oh, you’re a Democrat. How can that be?” They’re numbers. Tax rates on individuals, businesses are lower today than the day I took office. Every tax rate, as incredible as that sounds, is lower today than the day I took office. So the state finances were very, very strong, and then this economic tsunami hits and you shut down all the businesses. Everybody stays home. They’re not getting a paycheck. They feel like that economic anxiety. The consequences to the state is the revenue projections are way down.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:25)
What do we do about it? Some people have suggested, “Well, states should declare bankruptcy.” I think, as I said yesterday, it’s a really dumb idea. People are trying to talk about bringing the economy back reopen. We have to get the economy moving again, and then rather than provide financial aid to the states that got hit by this economic tsunami, through no fault of their own, suggestion was made, “States should declare bankruptcy.” Few problems with that premise. Forget the morality of it, and the ethics of it, and the absurdity of it, and the meanness of it. Legally, a state can’t declare bankruptcy. You would need a federal law allowing states to declare bankruptcy. So to the Senate that proposed it, I say pass a law allowing states to declare bankruptcy. I dare you, and let the President sign that bill that says, “I give the states the legal ability to declare bankruptcy.”
Andrew Cuomo: (19:43)
It’s your suggestion, Senator McConnell. Pass the law. I dare you. And then go to the President and say, “Sign this bill allowing states to declare bankruptcy.” You want to send a signal to the markets that this nation is in real trouble? You want to send a international message that the economy is in turmoil? Do that. Allow states to declare bankruptcy legally, because you passed the bill. It’ll be the first time in our nation’s history that that happened. I dare you to do that, and then we’ll see how many states actually take you up on it. I know I wouldn’t, but if you believe what you said and you have the courage of conviction because you’re a man of your word, pass that bill, if you weren’t just playing politics. We’ll see how long it takes him to do it.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:46)
Also, moving on, voting. We still have elections in the midst of all this chaos. We’ve seen elections held where we have people on lines for a long period of time. It makes no sense to me to tell people, “You have to put your life at risk, violate social distancing to come out to vote.” So we passed an executive order that said you can vote by absentee. Today I’m asking the Board of Elections to send every New York voter what’s called a … Automatically receives a postage paid application for a ballot. If you want to vote, we should send you a ballot so you can vote so you don’t have to come out and get on line.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:32)
And then looking ahead, more testing, and we are making great progress on that. New York State is doing more tests than any state in the country right now. New York State is doing more tests than any country per capita on the globe right now. That is what will educate on moving forward. Watch the spread of the virus. It’s getting warmer. More people are to be coming out of their homes. That’s going to happen naturally. Watch that spread. Testing gives you those numbers on an ongoing basis. Maintain social distancing.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:06)
Also, plan on a reopening, and not just reopening what was. We went through this horrific experience. It should be a period of growth. It should be a period of reflection. If we’re smart and we use it that way, there are lessons to learn here, if we’re smart and we have the courage to look in the mirror. We went through 9/ 11. We were the smarter for it. We went through World War II. We were the better for it. We went through Superstorm Sandy. We learned. We grew. We were the better for it. We should do the same thing here.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:43)
People have totally changed their lifestyle. What did we learn? How do we have a better healthcare system that can actually handle public health emergencies? How do we have a better transportation system? How do we have a smarter telemedicine system? How do we use technology and education better? Why do some children have to go to a parking lot to get wifi to do their homework? How do we learn from this and how do we grow? And let New York lead the way, because we are New York tough, but New York tough, when they say we’re tough, yeah, we’re tough, but we think tough incorporates being smart, and being disciplined, and being unified, and being loving.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:28)
Last point I want to make is, and this is just personal. It’s not factual. My grandmother on my father’s side, Mary, was a beautiful woman, but tough. She was a tough lady. She was New York tough. Gone through the Depression, early immigrant, worked hard all her life, and she was a little rough hewn. She was rough hewn. And I would say to her, “You know, Grandma, I met this girl, met this guy, they’re really nice.” And she would say, “Nice? How do you know they’re nice? It’s easy to be nice when everything is nice.” I said, “Grandma, what does that mean?” She said, “You know when you know if they’re nice? When things get hard. That’s when you know if they’re nice.”
Andrew Cuomo: (24:22)
And I never really got it, but her point was, it’s easy to be nice and kind and affable when everything is easy. You really get to see people and get to see character when things get hard, and when the pressure is on is when you really get to see true colors of a person and see what they made of. It’s almost as if the pressure just forces their character, and the weaknesses explode or the strengths explode. And that’s what we’ve gone through. This has been hard. It’s put everyone under pressure, and you’ve really seen what people are made of, and you’ve really had a snapshot of what individuals are made of, and what we are made of as a collective. And personally, I’ll tell you the truth. Some people break your heart. They just break your heart. People who I thought would rise to the occasion, people who I thought were strong, under pressure, they just crumbled. They just crumbled. On the other hand, you see people who you didn’t expect anything from who just rise to the occasion, and you see the best and you see the worst. You just see the best and the worst of humanity just comes up to the surface, on both ends. Everything gets elevated. The strength in people and the weakness in people. The beauty in people-
Andrew Cuomo: (26:03)
… in people and the weakness in people, the beauty in people and the ugliness in people. You see both. For me, the beauty you see and the strength that you see compensates and balances for the weakness, and I get inspired by the strength so I can tolerate the heartbreak of the weakness. Here’s a letter that I received that just sums it up. “Dear Mr. Cuomo, I seriously doubt that you will ever read this letter, as I know you are busy beyond belief with the disaster that has befallen our country. We are a nation in crisis. Of that, there is no doubt. I am a retired farmer hunkered down in northeast Kansas with my wife, who has but one lung and occasional problems with her remaining lung. She also has diabetes. We are in our 70s now, and frankly, I am afraid for her. Enclosed, find a solitary N95 mask left over from my farming days. It has never been used. If you could, would you please give this mask to a nurse or doctor in your state? I have kept four masks for my immediate family. Please keep on doing what you do so well, which is to lead. Sincerely, Dennis and Sharon.”
Andrew Cuomo: (27:51)
A farmer in northeast Kansas, his wife has one lung and diabetes. He has five masks. He sends one mask to New York for a doctor or a nurse, keeps four masks. You want to talk about a snapshot of humanity.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:17)
You have five masks. What do you do? Do you keep all five? Do you hide the five masks? Do you keep them for yourselves or others? No. You send one mask to New York to help a nurse or a doctor.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:36)
How beautiful is that? How selfless is that? How giving is that? That’s the nursing home in Niskayuna that sent 100 ventilators down to New York City when they needed them. It’s that love, that courage, that generosity of spirit that makes this country so beautiful and makes Americans so beautiful. It’s that generosity of spirit, for me, makes up for all the ugliness that you see. Take one mask. I’ll keep four. God bless America.
Andrew Cuomo: (29:19)
Speaker 2: (29:20)
Governor, what did you think of the president’s suggestion for research into ingesting bleach or using UV rays as COVID treatments?
Andrew Cuomo: (29:28)
I don’t know much about UV rays. Not my job, not my business, not my education, not my background. Dr. Zucker, what do you know about UV rays?
Dr. Howard Zucker: (29:37)
I think that anything when it comes to bleach, these are chemicals you would not ingest. As we know, we make sure our kids do not go into cabinets that have any of these chemicals in them, so we need to stay away from those products.
Speaker 2: (29:53)
Okay. Have you heard anything from the president about how he might exactly help New York with the supply chain issues when it comes to testing and helping manufacturers?
Andrew Cuomo: (30:05)
Yes. That’s what we’ve been talking about for the past two days. I had a meeting in the White House, and the president and his team are going to work on the supply chain issue for the national manufacturers to get the reagents test kits, so they can provide our commercial labs here in New York. We want to go from a goal of… We’re now doing about 20,000 a day. We want to go to 40,000 a day.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:31)
I just want to ask you about the mail-in voting for the June 23rd primary. People on both the left and the right are saying it may not be a good idea because the Board of Elections is not up to carrying out this task. Would polls still be open for people to go to?
Andrew Cuomo: (30:49)
Yes. Polls would be open.
Do you think the Board of Elections can carry this out? Are there problems there?
Andrew Cuomo: (30:55)
Well, Karen, life is options. You’re having an election. There’s only two options. Either people go to the polls or people vote by absentee. There’s no other way to do it, right? We’re saying you have both options. You can go to the poll or you can vote absentee. I don’t know what else anyone could expect anyone could do.
So are you mailing an absentee-
Andrew Cuomo: (31:21)
Excuse me one second. What is the other option? People on the left and the right are unhappy. What do they recommend? there are only two things. You have an election. You can go to the poll that day, or if you don’t want to go to the poll, you vote absentee. We’re doing both.
Well, I guess, do you worry that there could be some kind of mistakes or the result won’t be valid because something might happen with something-
Andrew Cuomo: (31:49)
Well, then if you’re against absentees, then everybody goes to the polls. Is that what they want? No, they don’t want that either, because they don’t want people going to the polls because then you wait on line and you come in contact with other people, so life is options.
Andrew Cuomo: (32:04)
Yeah, just wondering, so are you sending an absentee application or an actual ballot?
Andrew Cuomo: (32:10)
Melissa DeRosa: (32:11)
We’re sending an absentee application. Article II, Section 2 of the constitution allows for an absentee voting process, and there are two provisions, one if you’re out of county, the other is a list of specific things that were enumerated in law by the legislature. One of those is temporary illness. The executive order the governor did a couple of weeks ago amended the temporary illness provision to include risk of contracting COVID.
Melissa DeRosa: (32:35)
We looked at this very closely. I know some people thought that this should be you send everybody an actual ballot to vote, and we don’t think that that’s within our constitutional right for the governor’s directive powers to override the constitution and create a mail-in voting system where one otherwise doesn’t exist. What we’re saying is everyone’s going to get an application with postage so this is easy. Every registered voter gets one. They can fill it out. They send it back in. To the question of whether or not the Board of Elections can handle this, the provision the governor did a couple of weeks ago allowed for anyone to already be able to do this. It’s just that then you would have had to download the ballot, call to get a ballot, go to the BOE to get the ballot. All we’re doing is making this more convenient, so that people who don’t have access to internet, don’t want to leave their homes because of their fear of COVID, are able to get an application directly sent to them with the return postage to be able to get the absentee ballot that our early executive order allowed for.
Andrew Cuomo: (33:29)
How smart is that?
Andrew Cuomo: (33:30)
Go ahead, Jason.
Governor, we’re a week away from May 1st. Millions of New Yorkers have rent due. They have mortgages due. Have you given any thought to a rent freeze for renters or to extend mortgages by about three months so that those loans would be extended, so that people aren’t going to be facing a large payment when your moratorium is complete?
Andrew Cuomo: (33:48)
Yeah, we’re looking at that right now. What do we do at the end of this moratorium? We have a number of options we’re looking at.
Is rent freeze amongst them?
Andrew Cuomo: (33:56)
We’re looking at all options.
Then one follow-up question. We’re now three weeks away from when the On PAUSE order is supposed to be done, May 15th. Parents are trying to figure out whether or not their kids are going back to school. Can we get a timetable on when you might make that decision?
Andrew Cuomo: (34:09)
About one week.
About one week from today?
Andrew Cuomo: (34:11)
So we give people some notice. Anyone who has anything else on that?
Melissa DeRosa: (34:12)
Governor, I was just going to say on the rent freeze in New York City, that’s controlled by the Rent Board in New York City, and that’s entirely controlled by New York City. I know Mayor de Blasio has been calling for them to do the rent freeze, but that’s outside of our actual jurisdiction. That’s controlled by the city.
Could you conceivably do that in other cities in the state, Utica, Albany?
Melissa DeRosa: (34:29)
That’s something that we’re looking at, but the pressure has obviously been in the city and that’s what the conversation has been. That’s something that I know the mayor is focused on.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:37)
It’s really an issue in New York City, which is where-
Melissa DeRosa: (34:40)
Certainly. When might a decision on that be made, just so people can plan?
Andrew Cuomo: (34:42)
Well, the New York City decision, New York City has to make. What we do on our executive orders that are going to expire, we have a couple of weeks still, so we’ll give people timely notice, but we’re looking at all options.
Speaker 3: (34:57)
Is there going to be a task force… This is probably a question for Melissa, too, since I know you’ve been spearheading it. Has there been any update there on the safety of pregnant women giving birth during the pandemic, and just how has that work been going so far?
Melissa DeRosa: (35:09)
We’re going to be giving the governor a list of recommendations this weekend for executive action, so you’ll be seeing something in the next couple of days, but we’ve been meeting every day this week.
Speaker 4: (35:18)
Governor, that revenue shortfall opens the door for you to institute a cut to local governments, to schools. Do you intend on invoking that power, and what kind of cuts should those entities expect?
Andrew Cuomo: (35:30)
We’re looking at that now, and we don’t have a decision now. But I’ll tell you the truth. I said to the federal government… I’ve been talking about this for how long? Two months. I said, “How can you have a federal government in a position where they’re not going to provide funding to state governments and local governments?” Small business, airlines, business program. Now some of these large corporations now apparently have been taking money from the government programs. And they’re not funding state and local.
Andrew Cuomo: (36:03)
When you don’t fund state and local, you know who you don’t fund? Police, fire, school teachers, school officials. What was the possible theory of funding large corporations, but not firefighters and not police and not healthcare workers? It boggles the mind.
Andrew Cuomo: (36:26)
All they said was, “Don’t worry. Don’t worry, we’re going to do it in the next bill. We’re going to do it in the next bill. We’re going to do it in the next bill.” I said to our congressional delegation, I said to our senators, Schumer and Gillibrand, “Don’t pass this past bill that they just did unless you have state and local funding, because they’re not going to do it.” Don’t worry. Don’t worry. They’re not going to do it.
Andrew Cuomo: (36:54)
As soon as the Senate acts, McConnell turns around and says, “I’m not going to do it. The state should declare bankruptcy. Bailout to the blue states.” Bailout to the blue states. Again, the most un-American, uncharitable, ugly statement of all time.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:12)
Yes, New York had more coronavirus cases than Kentucky. Do you know why? The flights from Europe land in New York. The flights were not landing in Kentucky. That’s why we have the coronavirus cases. That’s what the researchers now found two months later, that the virus went from China to Europe, got on a plane, and came here. And by the way, the virus probably got on a plane in China and came here, but China maybe landed in California. The European flights landed here. That’s why New York has the coronavirus cases.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:56)
Bail out New York? You’re not bailing out New York. New York has bailed you out. Every year, it’s bailed you out. Mitch McConnell is a taker, not a giver. New York is the state of givers. We put more money into the federal pot every year. We’re the number one state in donating to the federal pot, number one. Kentucky is the number three state in taking from the federal pot. They take out more from the federal pot than they put in every year. But this is America, states, one federal pot. You put in what you can, and the states that need it take it. Okay, so for every year New York was the number one-
Andrew Cuomo: (39:03)
So for every year, New York was the number one donor state putting in more money than it took out. Putting in more money than anyone else and taking out less. Number one donor state. Kentucky every year was the number three state that took out more than they put in. So we were putting money into the pot, they were taking our dollars out of the pot and now he wants to look at New York and say, “We’re bailing you out.” You’re bailing us out? Just give me my money back, Senator. Just give me my money back. I mean, it’s just ridiculous. States shouldn’t declare bankruptcy. Okay, Senator pass the bill that authorizes States to declare bankruptcy, sign the bill, Mr. President. Economy’s coming back. We’re doing great. Pent up demand. Stock market wants to take off. Good. Pass a bill allowing states to be bankrupt and then let’s watch how the stock market takes off at that great news about our economic resilience.
Speaker 7: (40:15)
[crosstalk 00:40:15] Operators have said that there are things, staff shortages, people are getting sick and they have to take the staff out of rotation. Of all of the health care volunteers that the state has collected into the portal, have any of them been sent to nursing homes?
Andrew Cuomo: (40:29)
They all have been sent. The portal has been made a 100% available to all nursing homes.
Speaker 7: (40:33)
[inaudible 00:40:33] request?
Andrew Cuomo: (40:35)
No. You get a list. Nursing home goes online. Here’s the whole list. Go to the list. Here are 60,000 people. Hire whoever you want. They all said that they’re available and that they want to help.
Speaker 5: (40:49)
Governor, Thank you. First of all, I actually wanted to tell you something. I’ve been speaking with reporters from other states and one from Arizona told me last night that the state officials there are not giving any information on COVID-19 so I wanted to say thank you for taking our questions.
Andrew Cuomo: (41:08)
Oh, thank you very much. Thank you from a reporter.
Speaker 5: (41:12)
VP Pence said-
Andrew Cuomo: (41:13)
Surprises never cease. There is the positive of this coronavirus. Reporter says thank you. Have you ever heard of that?
Speaker 5: (41:24)
VP Pence said 16 States have submitted their reopening plans. We haven’t heard the entire list of states. I wanted to know are we on the list? And in terms of reopening, is the plan anywhere near being done for New York?
Andrew Cuomo: (41:39)
We’re not on the list. If you look at the 16 states, those tend to be the states that had a lower infection rate, lower hospitalization rate, lower death rate. We’re not in the first 16 in terms of just on the numbers, on the data. Also, our plan, we’ll have a statewide plan which will basically be focused on lessons learned. But then we’re also doing a regional analysis because in this state, some of the states are basically homogenous. New York is anything but homogenous. We have the most dense urban area in New York City. And then we have rural areas that could be in Ohio or could be in Montana. We have areas where you have very few people, basically agricultural. So we have both and that’s why I was saying we’ll do a regional analysis. Depending on the numbers, some regions could open up before others.
Andrew Cuomo: (42:40)
As long as the way we open up those regions don’t cause unintended consequences where they wind up with different problems cause everybody now comes to drive in to go to their beaches or their parks or their businesses, et cetera. You know, you open up main street now anywhere in the state of New York. You’ll see people in their cars driving up from New York City to go to that main street. I have no doubt, you see these pictures of beaches opening up, you have people who will drive hours to go to a beach right now. You want to get out of the house. You have the kids who are making you a little crazy, put them in the car, drive four hours to go to a beach. People would do that. I told you I saw a couple right here on the corner, drove up from Queens to buy Thai food in styrofoam containers and sit in the car and eat it. I said, “Why don’t you just buy Thai food in Queens?” They said, “We needed to take a ride.” I mean look at that pent up concern.
Speaker 7: (43:38)
Following up to that in terms of coming up with our reopening plan, do you know when our plan will be complete or do we still have too much of an issue here to even get to that point?
Andrew Cuomo: (43:52)
The CDC guidance says before any state should open, you need two weeks of flat or declining numbers. So by the Fed’s CDC guidance, we’re not there yet. The two weeks is flat or declining?
Speaker 5: (44:10)
Andrew Cuomo: (44:11)
So even by a region we’d have to do two weeks of flat or declining. Declining is obviously better than flat. So if you had just complying with the federal guidelines, you need that two weeks of a case data.
Speaker 7: (44:30)
[crosstalk 00:44:30] One more, I’m sorry. In terms of antibody testing, so our viewers are so interested in antibody testing. Yesterday when you gave the numbers, I was curious, do you know how many tests that you need to do for antibody testing before you’ll feel comfortable?
Andrew Cuomo: (44:49)
You could consume double the capacity of all the labs in the of New York to do testing and you would not have done enough. You can never, you’ll always want more testing. You can never do enough testing in the nursing homes, in the prisons, in longterm care facilities, population at large. You could never do enough testing though.
Speaker 7: (45:17)
[inaudible 00:45:17] have a goal though, because that’s kind of a broad…
Andrew Cuomo: (45:18)
Do you guys have a specific goal?
Speaker 8: (45:20)
We’re going to be in the field for the next several weeks. We actually are in 15 locations downstate today. We’re going to be in other locations on Saturday, Sunday, so this is going to be an ongoing thing and as the governor said yesterday, as these results come in, yesterday’s preliminary, we’ll keep reporting those results out.
Andrew Cuomo: (45:37)
[crosstalk 00:45:37] Let’s take one more. Someone who hasn’t asked a question.
Speaker 6: (45:39)
Governor, the numbers you released yesterday essentially established a statistical baseline. I’m wondering if it would be reasonable or feasible or useful to mandate testing of patients and staff in nursing homes. Would that be helpful?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:57)
It would be helpful, but you have to have the capacity for them to do that. They are now testing, I don’t know how many are testing. Maybe the doctors are [inaudible 00:46:10] but you want, we have testing in nursing homes and we’re doing a lot of testing in nursing homes. Checking the temperature of every staff member that comes in. We’re not in a position to say we can provide enough tests to do every staff member every day, but do you know any of the number?
Speaker 9: (46:29)
I couldn’t give you the exact numbers, but as the governor has said, it’s a comprehensive plan of both screening, testing, evaluating what else they… Concerns of infection and spreads. So we’re working on that and we’re looking at the possibility of how we can, as the governor mentioned, test staff as well as individuals who live there.
Commissioner Tucker: (46:54)
[crosstalk 00:46:54] Are people who are participating in these tests being informed of their results and then relatedly Commissioner Tucker you said that you have a high confidence in the reliability of these tests. Can you explain why you believe that these are accurate when there are so many questions about their reliability?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:09)
Go ahead. Because it’s his test. That’s why he believes in it. This is not somebody else’s test. This is a test he developed. Go ahead.
Commissioner Tucker: (47:16)
My confidence is in Wadsworth lab test, as the governor has said, which has unbelievable sensitivity specificity. For those who are getting tested, they want the results. We provide them their results and an information sheet about what those results mean. [crosstalk 00:08:32].
Andrew Cuomo: (47:32)
The antibody tests you’re talking about are commercial antibody tests that are available. This antibody test was developed specifically by the New York State Department of Health. It’s our own test. Let’s take one more. Go ahead. [crosstalk 00:47:46]
Speaker 6: (47:46)
Governor, should local health departments have access to the health emergency response data system? This is something that the Douglas County executive is seeking.
Andrew Cuomo: (47:54)
Do you know what that is? Say it again?
Speaker 10: (47:56)
It’s the Health Emergency Response Status System.
Commissioner Tucker: (48:02)
We received the data about all of this information. If the county health departments want to know, but we’re happy to share that information with them. [crosstalk 00:09:09].
Andrew Cuomo: (48:08)
Dennis, if you’re watching, thank you very much. [crosstalk 00:48:13].
Speaker 11: (48:10)
When does the state anticipate adding, say thousands of probable deaths that New York City’s been adding?
Andrew Cuomo: (48:19)
As soon as we get… Well probable is what the Times added to actual deaths to be a little misleading because probable is probable, but it’s not actual. But as soon as we get the at-home deaths, we will add them to the actual deaths. But probable is not actual.
Speaker 11: (48:39)
When do you anticipate that happening because-
Andrew Cuomo: (48:41)
As soon as we get them.
Speaker 11: (48:42)
That would be central to any calculation. But we don’t do them as soon as we get them.
Speaker 12: (48:45)
But New York City’s had that total for two weeks now. So the state’s a little behind that.
Andrew Cuomo: (48:49)
Well we have it for the city but it depends on how the locals report.
Speaker 12: (48:52)
Right, but what’s the lab? What’s the hold up right now?
Andrew Cuomo: (48:55)
Well we have to get it from the local government.
Speaker 12: (48:57)
So it’s coming from local government and local health departments?
Andrew Cuomo: (49:00)
We don’t do the actual, the morticians, whatever the coroner’s reports are. They are handled locally and given to the state. When we get them, we release them. Thank you guys.